“Wisconsin has the highest proportion of eccentric environments in the USA, more than 10% of the total.” – Jan Friedman
Since the demise of Time Cube, I’ve become nostalgic for the early, more personal days of the internet. Before social media was around, before content was shuffled towards a few overarching services. Things that are now Twitter feeds and Tumblr blogs would once be a gigantic number of individual, single-topic websites and forums, an array of personal homepages and strange blogs stretching off into eternity. You might stumble across a weird Subreddit now, but at least it’s cloaked in the familiarity of a larger site. Finding one of the web’s oddities once meant entering into an alternate world, created to mirror the author’s mind.
I once enjoyed browsing these websites. I heard about them on the old Snopes message boards, or places like Crank.net and the Museum of Hoaxes, or through long lists of links on places such as the Insolitology or even the Sci-Fi Channel.
I don’t know where I found today’s website. It’s one of several sites describing the many oddities of Wisconsin. I’ll detail the others in future Flashback Fridays; bizarrely, while today’s site is defunct, the other sites that are still up look way more outdated.
What do you think of when you think of Wisconsin? Cheese? Beer? Serial killers? The Fonz? How about the Beast of Bray Road, the werewolf that calls Elkhorn home? Or the Hodag, a reptilian beast made up in a failed attempt to make Rhinelander interesting? Those are just the obvious legends about the state. Today’s site looks at the deep cuts.
The now-defunct Weird Wisconsin last updated in 2004; it vanished some time in 2006. Presumably inspired by Weird New Jersey, it’s home to many accounts of Wisconsin’s paranormal phenomenon, and wonderful images like this:
I have long chronicled the absurdities of the conspiracy theorist movement here on the Space Lizard Report. I’ve covered 9/11 truthers who think a viral ad is real, blurry bald people being mistaken for alien Voldemorts, and a very, very high Youtuber who believes every war is a hoax. I’ve looked at people who think feminism is a conspiracy and the delusional nerds of GamerGate, who see everything as feminist “censorship” of video games. How the Moon is a hologram. And also whatever the hell this is.
Yet last night I realized a terrible truth. Everything these people said was true. Only I realize the truth. For you see, I am the Son of the Godhead. And reptilians rule the world.
They’ve taken over all world leaders. The Queen of England. Barack Obama. Zlatan Ibrahimović. They control the media, but I’d like to reassure you that it’s not a racist thing. My followers may make it a racist thing, but to me it’s just reptilians. Horrible reptilians.
If you don’t believe me, then just witness my patented process to PROVE someone is a secret reptilian. Continue reading
In 1992, the Sci-Fi Channel launched, giving the world Farscape, the good Battlestar Galactica and an unhealthy amount of Stargate. A fallow period for TV science fiction caused them to rebrand themselves as the SyFy Network, home of wrestling and light fantasy shows about small towns with secrets. A boom in science fiction and fantasy brought on by the likes of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead passed them by, and the network is just now starting to re-enter the genre arena.
But during the dotcom days of 1999-2000, the Sci-Fi Network embarked on a kind of viral advertising campaign. While social media did not exist, they aired a series of mysterious, paranormal ads to get people talking about their network – and drive them to their website, tapping into the UFO craze of the 90’s to get clicks.
Most of the campaign has vanished down the memory hole, but this ad from the campaign implores you to send them any unexplainable footage:
Other ads in the campaign showed people with strange magnetic powers, and oddly behaving bugs. These are sadly lost, or at least they haven’t been uploaded to Youtube. The gist of the campaign was that normal footage would be altered with some plausible-looking supernatural element; Sci-Fi happens.
But one ad from the Sci-Fi Happens campaign became famous. One ad from this cable network’s primitive viral campaign is still hotly debated to this day. And once you see it, you’ll know why: Continue reading